Monday, March 30, 2009

Early Days in Los Angeles and Venice Beach

These photographs from years ago inspired me to look up some facts from the early days in Southern California: Los Angeles and nearby Venice. In reading a little of the history of Venice Beach, I would say it has kept is character….even today.

My maternal grandparents were from Sicily. My grandfather, born in 1875, came to the United States in about 1882. In 1894 he returned to Sicily where he married my grandmother and they returned to America in December of 1895. In late 1909 they left Colorado and went to Los Angeles to live. Papa immediately found a job building the North Main Street Bridge, which crosses the Los Angeles River, and is near the old Eastside Brewery, and near Lincoln Park. Not long after he bought an Ice Cream Wagon and later owned a gas station but lost it during the Depression. For a number of years he worked at the film studios painting and maintaining movie sets.

My grandfather and grandmother loved the beach and often went to Venice Beach during those early years while living in Los Angeles.

Here are some interesting photos of early days in Los Angeles and in Venice which I discovered yesterday, via my friend Michael. I’ve also included Tidbits from the days gone by that you may find of interest as I have.

North Main Street Bridge, Los Angeles
that my grandfather worked on.

1900, March 15, Los Angeles, California
Editorial Los Angeles Herald Newspaper
Married Teachers
The board of education has established the rule, and emphasized it by dismissing a recently wedded teacher, that female teachers in the public schools cannot retain their positions after marriage… It is needless to give the reasons for such a policy. That ground has been threshed over many times. There are very few women who can manage a home and a school at the same time. The one or the other must suffer, possibly both.

1905 – Los Angeles, Broadway Department Store Sale
Semi-annual $5.00 Suit Sale. Suits for Men, Young Men and Youths. Most of them Worth $10.00. Both Single and Double Breasted. Thousands to Choose From. Extra Salesmen in Attendance.

1908 – Los Angeles
Los Angeles Express, July 3, 1908.
That Los Angeles should be in direct communication by “wireless” with the frozen North appears almost incredible, but this has been accomplished by the new United Wireless telegraph station at Chutes Park.

1908 - Los Angeles
Los Angeles Herald October 3, 1908
House Hunting Through Want Ads

The trials of house hunting have certainly been made easier since THE HERALD began to print the Want Advertisements. There was a time when a man and wife had to walk up one street and down another searching for the right kind of a home. Now the owners of rentable houses either send or telephone the advertisements describing their property to THE HERALD, either daily or Sunday. The advertisements are printed — families wanting to move watch the "For Rent" columns — when the class of a house they want is for rent they go to look at it — if desirable, they rent it. Perhaps the house you want may not be advertised today or tomorrow, but if you watch these column every day, sooner or later you will find the house advertised for rent which will suit you

1908 – Los Angeles

In an address before members of the Hundred Year Club . . . this morning, Dr. L.E. Landone spoke of the evil effects of certain food combinations on the body, declaring that the appetite for drink is caused in children by such combinations as bread, butter and jam. Many, he said, will refuse a glass of whisky, but will take into the stomach a combination of foods which will at once start a distillery in the system.

1912 – Venice
The first bathing beauty contest was started as a promotional feature for the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper.

Keystone Girls, Venice Beach Parade about 1920
Keystone Studios, Max Sennett

Venice Beach, 1920

1915 – Venice
The Venice Gran Prix automobile race was held on St. Patrick's Day. 75,000 spectators watched the 300 mile race. Barney Oldfield driving a Maxwell won the race in 4 1/2 hours with an average speed of 68.5 MPH.

Barney Oldfield, winner of Venice Gran Prix, March 1915

1918 –Venice
Venice was one of only two towns in Los Angeles County where one could buy a drink and a bottle of liquor. Vernon was the other town.

1919 – Venice
In April Venice inaugurated the first aerial police force. It proved useful for tracking fleeing automobile bandits, or finding boats in distress.

1929 – Venice
Oil was discovered in December on county property just east of the Grand Canal and Avenue 35 on the Venice Peninsula. The well initially produced 3000 barrels per day. Oil fever swept the town, and shortly therafter, Los Angeles allowed drilling south of Lenona (Washington Street), two blocks from the ocean.

Oil Field Venice, 1930

Broadway and 7th, Los Angeles, about 1920.
Thought we had traffic today, huh?

Bellevue Terrace Hotel, Los Angeles, 1900

My paternal great grandfather, John Sanford Anderson Shearer.
This was taken in the late 1920, or early 1930’s
while he worked as a street car conductor in Los Angeles.

Bunker Hill Home, Los Angeles, 1969



John Hayes said...

A wonderful history in photos & text-- thanks so much.

Ricky Kendall said...

What a fun journey. I also loved the pictures.